Why study electrical and electronic engineering?

Electrical and electronic engineers work at the forefront of practical technology, improving the devices and systems we use every day. From solar-energy systems to mobile phones, we innovate to meet society's communication, tech and energy needs.

Electrical and electronic engineering explained

Electricity is integral to modern life - power generation, transport, medicine, quantum information, computing, artificial intelligence, cryptography, communications, the list is endless. So what distinguishes electrical from electronic? Put simply, electrical engineers deal with the supply and flow of power; electronic engineers create the electronic devices we use every day.

Electrical engineering is about harnessing electricity:

  • producing, delivering storing and transmitting it
  • large-scale systems to distribute and control power
  • circuits where electricity flows from one point to another
  • high-voltage applications with heavy currents

Electronic engineering is about electrical circuits and components:

  • creating, designing and testing them
  • integrating them into computer hardware and systems
  • circuits that process, and have decision-making capabilities
  • low-voltage applications and with low-strength current
  • robotics, AI, computation, communications 

Both fields focus on real-world applications. If you are excited by maths and science, love technology and its potential benefits for society, this is the course for you.

Why Bristol is best for electrical and electronic engineering

  • You will be taught by internationally-renowned experts with a passion for the subject 
  • Our courses reflect all the latest developments and the needs of industry
  • You'll have privileged access to state-of-the-art facilities
  • We offer a wide range of scholarships, summer placements, industrial seminars and exclusive employment opportunities
  • We train future leadeers by encouraging you to think in innovative ways and challenge existing practice
  • We are the only university offering both the UK Electronics Skills Foundation and the E3 Academy Scholarship.
  • Bristol is home to Europe’s largest cluster of micro-electronics industries, the UK’s biggest aerospace companies, and a thriving creative media industry.
  • All our undergraduate degree programmes are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Research is at the heart of our mission, hence our international reputation. It informs our teaching and underpins our economic role in the region and collaborations across the world. Here are just some of the many innovations our lecturing staff have contributed to:-

  • the world’s first in-home HDTV wireless video distribution system
  • a novel medical scanner for the early detection of breast cancer using non-ionising radiation
  • the electrical motor technologies used in the Airbus A380
  • Europe’s first Code-Division Multiple Access (CDMA) cellular network technology - used in all 3G mobiles and basestations

Careers

96% of our graduates are in well-paid, full-time employment after just six months. Here's why.

These are just some of the global trends and key challenges that electrical and electronic engineers address:-

  • Rapid technological growth, a revolution in information and consumer technology and digital media 
  • Urgent need for alternative and sustainable solutions for energy and transport
  • Development of advanced networks such as the Smart Grid
  • The automated transport revolution
  • The intertwining of computing and manufacturing into ‘Industry 4.0’
  • Advances in medical science, aerospace, robotics and artificial intelligence 

All this means a strong and growing demand for electrical and electronic engineers. They will be at the heart of future innovation. Starting and average salaries are already high. Studies predict excellent future employment prospects with continued job security and a rise in crossover opportunities and diversification. Demand is worldwide, hence the opportunities to work abroad during your studies.

The stats: prospects for graduates

  • In a survey by Statista, the global revenue growth in 2018 for the electronic engineers industry sector is predicted at 4%
  • TotalJobs quotes the average UK salary for electrical engineers as £37,500 and electronic engineers as £41,570
  • In 2017, a survey of engineering and eechnology firms by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that over the last three years, electrical and electronic engineering companies had a net workforce increase of 32% – the third-highest in the sector
  • Over half of the UK businesses surveyed in electrical and electronics engineering identified a skills shortage
  • In 2016, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 7% rise in electrical and electronics engineering employment over the 10 years to 2026

Electrical engineers are in high demand in the UK currently. I feel this opens a lot of doors for me.

Abdul Bello, MEng

The Faculty really supports students’ interests and future career plans by setting up programmes such as the Industrial Mentoring Scheme. The links with industry give us real insight on all the different career paths available.

Andrea Bejarano Carbó , MEng

I know that this degree will stand me in good stead for my future, whatever career path I decide to take. Engineers make a difference everyday as their decisions impact societies and communities all around the world.

Annabel Ohene, MEng

Key challenges

The Institution of Engineering and Technology's website has more on:

Transport 

Safe, affordable travel, connected/autonomous vehicles, silent aircraft and more.

ICT 

Being “smart” about data delivery, storage and retreival. The internet of things.

Energy 

Secure and sustainable energy. Bristol is one of the Smart City initiatives.

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